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iPhone Game Review: Pac-Man Championship Edition

Posted by: Tina at 1/4/2010 8:46 PM
Everyone knows Pac-Man. Pretty much everyone loves Pac-Man. Pac-Man Championship Edition is for those die-hard fans looking for some dot-eating on the edge. While I myself am a die-hard fan of the old school arcade edition of Pac-Man, I couldn’t help but let this App for my iPhone 3G hamper my enthusiasm for it.

Hit the jump for my full review and to hear the reasons for such hampering shenanigans.



I guess it was only a matter of time before Pac-Man Championship Edition from XBLA was brought to a more mobile gaming platform. This particular iteration of the many Pac-Man games out there includes three gameplay modes that suit the Championship Edition title it boasts. These are Mission, Championship, and Challenge.

Mission mode consists of traversing sets of mini-challenges. This part of the gameplay lets you level your experience as you go, providing newbies (are there any Pac-Man newsbies left?) the opportunity to catch up to the rest. Mission feels like it should be part of a Championship training – your coach is instructing you to complete various tasks that seem inconsequential to the actual imminent championship, but you know one way or another you’re honing your skills. The problem with Mission mode, however, is how repetitive it becomes. Your challenges generally consist of “Eat X amount of fruits” or “Eat X amount of ghosts.” At the same time, however, the arrangement of dots will re-emerge and re-position themselves under one level to switch up the pace of the game. The game will force you into certain corners testing how well you can think on your toes. The levels themselves are also vastly different from each other in terms of the construction of the maze. The game even goes so far as to hide the maze completely in darkness, only lighting up a peripheral of vision. So even while the mission itself feels repetitive, the actual gameplay is not so terribly redundant.

Championship mode is where you land yourself after all the training you’ve done in Mission mode. Your coach has strung you out enough and it’s time to put his theories to the test. This mode will test your abilities against the clock, so you’ll have to rack up as many points as you can while the ghosts become quicker and smarter. Championship mode quickly becomes a really aggressive challenge as the ghosts are swooping past corners with their fiendish eyes fixated on your bulbous body frame. As you round corners desperately hoping the controls won’t suddenly crumble and fail to respond, you’ll realize how sobering the experience can be.

The probability of the risk of the controls failing isn’t too far from the truth. Not far enough, actually. There are several sets of control schemes you can choose from, similar to how Namco provided in Mr. Driller. Above all of them, I favored the D-pad (probably due to familiarity) but even then I was prone to being slighted by the ghosts for a random lack of response or likely slip of my fingers. Every control scheme you are given is tied together in too close a proximity to be reliable. There isn’t any groundbreaking changes being done to the original Pac-Man, and we wouldn’t want there to be. Still, if you’re going to intrigue us with Pac-Man action on the go, you might as well bring us some groundbreaking methods to doing so

Challenge mode I couldn’t tell you much about besides what information is printed on Pac-Man C.E.’s own description, given that this gameplay mode is only offered with the Expansion Pack. This information is also vague at best, describing the gameplay mode as “combining the features of mission and challenge modes.” This could be the most amazing aspect of gameplay offered in Pac-Man CE, or the lamest.

This Expansion Pack business is also a bit ridiculous for an iPhone/iPod Touch game, particularly because of a dive into the “too expensive” zone. The game is already bordering on questionable at $2.99, but to gain access to all levels of Mission and Championship mode as well as the entirety of Challenge mode, you’ll have to fork over an additional $3.99. That’s a whopping $6.98 for this game! If you like the idea of a Championship Edition of Pac-Man, I would say that the $2.99 price without the Expansion Pack will suffice for your on the go, on the edge Pac-Man experience.

The game is most certainly fun, but already the repetitive gameplay shows me that I will take the levels I’m offered with no further interest in prolonging said repetition. More over, one of the biggest issues I had with this game was the glitch-a-plenty situation. It’s one thing for a game to glitch out on you mid-gaming, but it’s even more terrible when you can’t load the game to begin with. The application is constantly crashing and, according to other iPhone gamers, this is a universal problem.

Be forewarned, Apple gamer, Pac-Man Championship Edition is a fun experience and slight twist on the original arcade game, but you’re in for a hell of a time with the controls and glitches.

Pac-Man Championship Edition
: $2.99
Pac-Man Championship Edition Expansion Pack: $3.99
GamingNexus Grade: B-